Obituary of Betty Joan Lavely
Betty J. Lavely, age 88, of Iowa City, died Sunday, January 9, 2022, at the North Liberty Retirement Community of Keystone Place at Forevergreen under the truly compassionate care of the staff and hospice there. Private family services will be held at 1:30 pm. Sunday, January 16, 2022, at the First United Methodist Church in Iowa City followed by burial at Memory Gardens Cemetery. Betty’s service will be livestreamed at the time and can be viewed later through Gay & Ciha Funeral and Cremation Service website @ www.gayandciha.com. Click on obituaries on Betty’s page and then the livestream box. In lieu of flowers memorial donations can be made in Betty’s memory to either First United Methodist Church of Iowa City or Eastern Iowa Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association. To share a thought, memory or condolence please visit the funeral home website @ www.gayandciha.com. Betty Joan Fisher was born February 11, 1933, on the family farm near Ainsworth, Iowa, the daughter of Howard and Lillian (Wollrab) Fisher. She attended Cedar Center Farmer’s School through eighth grade and then graduated from Riverside High School with the Class of 1951. Following high school, she attended Iowa City Commercial College which would serve her well in the years to come. While in school she worked at the State Historical Society for “Steamboat” Bill Peterson on the Palimpsest magazine. After her brother Lee was drafted into the Korean War she took his place in Riverside at People’s Savings and Trust Bank, where she developed many lifelong friendships and truly enjoyed her work. On Valentine’s Day of 1953, she married the love of her life, Calvin L. Lavely. The following year the couple moved to Iowa City where they made their home until their deaths. In addition to taking care of their home and their family, Betty became one of the first Iowa City School Crossing Guards while her children were in school. She thoroughly loved being able to help the young children everyday. In 1976 she started working in the business office at Hartwig Motors, Inc. and enjoyed working there for over seventeen years. It goes without saying, Betty was a family person, from her youth, her parents and siblings were always an important part of her life. This continued in marriage with Calvin and their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. There was no better title in this world than Mom and Grandma for Betty! She enjoyed her life around her, as an avid Iowa Hawkeye and Chicago Cubs fan, dancing with Calvin with the Oceanwave Square Dancers, taking family vacations and camping, especially when the grandkids joined them. Betty loved the holiday season, bringing her family together where they could enjoy her baking. She was in her glory being their hostess. Starting in 1995 she and Calvin spent many winters in Texas. While there Betty volunteered in the Host (Help One Student To Succeed) Reading and Math Program at the Salinas Elementary School for seventeen years, once again sharing her passion for the young ones. When not in Texas she enjoyed volunteering at the Mercy Gift Shop. She was known to get a bit excited about bingo, had fun times at casinos and enjoyed getting together to play euchre with friends. Betty cherished the serenity of the outdoors, whether it was in her garden or simply watching and feeding the birds around her house, especially the hummingbirds. One would very seldom see Betty without Calvin, and this was obvious at the Iowa City Farmers Market where for all those years, Betty was at Calvin’s side supporting his talent of creating woodworking treasures. She was an active member of the First United Methodist Church also belonging to United Methodist Women and supporting all the good that they did in their church and community. In Betty’s mind, her family, her faith and her friends were all that she needed and she had a lifetime of memories to prove it! In addition to her love for Calvin and her children, the love Betty had for her grandchildren and great grandchildren were a highpoint in her life and they brought so much joy to her. Her family includes their children, Judy Houghton (James), John Lavely (Julie), Jeff Lavely (Rebecca) and Jane Lavely; grandchildren, Laura Houghton, Heather Houghton, Adam Lavely (Emily), Anna Groenendyk (Derek), Nate Lavely; Jennifer Brand (Roger), Jarrod Lavely, Ashley Fink (Ryan), Chelcei Vanden Berg (Joshua), Dirk Marple Jr. (Fiancee Sophie), and Benjamin Marple (Monique); great-grandchildren, Richard Lavely, Lydia Groenendyk, Wesley Groenendyk, Peter Groenendyk, Edward Lavely, Josh Brand, Allison Brand, Carissa Brand, Mason Lavely, Marriana Vanden Berg, Gabriella Vanden Berg, Charlotte Vanden Berg and Oliver Marple; and Betty’s siblings, Lee Fisher (Shirley), Jim Fisher (Gloria), Carol Sharpe (Larry), and Gary Fisher (Denese). Betty was preceded in death by her parents, husband, Calvin and her grandson, David Lavely Houghton.